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Will Health Haunt The Patriots In Divisional Playoff Betting?

Posted by Matthew Forrester on 1/14/2016 5:06:32 PM

Revenge has to be on the mind of everyone in New England as they prepare for a divisional playoff betting matchup against the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs. The last time these two teams met, Kansas City blew the Patriots away in a 41-14 decimation that ironically ignited Brady and company to storm towards a Super Bowl victory. Kansas knows they can beat this team. They just have to prove it.

Ask any Patriots fan and they’re not scared of the Chiefs, but closer inspection presents a lot of reasons why they should be. If anything, the Chiefs have become a mirror image of the Patriots. They boast a single superstar threat at receiver, a game changing tight end, a standout defense and a shaky offensive line that blocks for a meager running-back-by-committee.

One of the biggest complaints about the Chiefs in NFL divisional betting is the quality of their recent competition. They’ve faced below-average teams for the most part during their 11-game win streak, and it’s stupid to argue that the Patriots are anything but a top-5 team in the league.

Despite this, there’s also no debating that the Chiefs are the hottest team in the playoffs, boasting an 11-0 SU and 8-3 ATS record over their last 11 games. This includes a 5-0 ATS run when travelling on the road. One of the reasons you can be hopeful for the Chiefs in divisional playoff betting is that they also boast a defensive front which can mangle the Pats upfront. If Miami can, Kansas City definitely can.

Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) vs. New England Patriots (12-4)

Saturday, January 16th --- Gillette Stadium --- 4:35pm EST

Divisional Playoff Betting Line: New England -4.5 (42.5)

We all saw what the Chiefs were capable of last week, when they completely dismantled Houston in a five turnover effort by the defense that was complimented by a tactical game plan on offense. They’re also very healthy in every place they need to be, notwithstanding the injury to Jamaal Charles.

As much as we like to tout the imperviousness of New England, it’s hard to be that excited about them considering how much things have fallen apart in recent weeks. Injuries have been a big problem and their 2-3 SU and ATS run included gaffes against the Jets, Dolphins and Eagles.

Gronkowski is healthy and Edelman is returning from a broken foot. Those two players will float New England’s backers in divisional playoff betting, as will their 4-1-2 ATS record when playing at home this season. But everyone needs to be careful here. There’s no telling what Edelman is actually capable of sustaining, especially against a stalwart corner like Marcus Peters. And the running game in New England doesn’t exist.

New England is also just 5-11 ATS when playing in the playoffs, and that are a brutal 4-9 ATS when playing at home in the post season. They’re also just 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.

The way you beat the Chiefs is by overexposing their weak offensive line, but that underestimates Smith’s ability to escape the pocket and get rid of the ball quickly. You can just as easily say that Brady’s offensive line is as bad – or worse – than the one in Kansas City.

If anything, momentum is strongly in the corner of Kansas City which is more than used to playing in adverse climates in the Midwest. Weather won’t be a factor here. Overall, I prefer Kansas City simply because they’re a proven commodity. You can absolutely bet on New England’s potential here, but the Chiefs have been playing to theirs.

This game should be tight, but I also think that Smith and Brady will find the creases to expose the endzone equally. I’m not remotely suggesting that Kansas City wipes the floor with the defending champions, but they’re more than capable of keeping this game close in a high-scoring affair which will take a few quarters to get rolling on the scoreboard. That’s why I prefer the OVER here along with a Kansas City cover.

NFL Divisional Playoff Betting Free Pick – Kansas City +4.5 (OVER)

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